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Singapore is a city-state island that has a sovereign authority. The country is located in the southeastern part of Asia. The country comprises of a main island that is referred to as Singapore Island and 60 islets. The city-state borders Peninsular Malaysia and Indonesian Riau Islands. Although Singapore is an urbanized country where indigenous vegetation is rare, the culture of reclamation has expanded its land. Stamford Raffles founded the country in 1819.
The British people colonized the country in 1824. It regained its independence in 1963. In 1965, Singapore was expelled from Malaysia. Since then, its economy began to grow rapidly. Today, the country is one of the best economies in Asia. Besides having the largest commercial center, it has one of five busiest ports in the world. This economy is dependent on manufacturing and trade. She has the third largest per capita income in the world. As the paper reveals, Singapore’s successful multicultural, business, political, education, and multi-religious environments have caught the attention of the world.
Singapore is a non-biased self-governing state that is recognized through the constitution. The country has a parliamentary system of administration. It has a unicameral parliament that follows the Westminster system. The government comprises three arms, namely the parliament, judiciary, and the executive. Under the control of the principal minister and the head of state, the cabinet holds the administrative supremacy. According to Duiker and Spielvogel (2014), the Singaporean president is elected through a popular vote from people.
The system of government in Singapore is unitary. Besides, it has a multiparty parliament. However, political elections have always been in favor of the People’s Action Party since 1959. This trend has portrayed the country as a semi-authoritarian state (Tantow, 2012). In addition, less press freedom and civil liberties is witnessed in the country. However, the middle power economy has influenced the global economy due to its reliance on trade and industrialization. However, the president has authority to appoint judges as a symbol of national unity. Since independence, the People’s Action Party (PAP), which is the most dominant party, has always produced the president.
The legislative arm of the government is the parliament, which comprises elected, nominated, and non-constituent members. Duiker and Spielvogel (2014) affirm that since the first election in 1959, the People’s Action Party (PAP) has dominated in terms of producing the majority of parliamentarians. Peidong (2014) confirms that since PAP has a great attachment with the government, it is able to control the media during campaigns because there lacks an independent electoral body in Singapore. This situation has always raised disputes. The major opposition party in Singapore is the Workers Party, which has a low representation in legislature. For example, in the 2011 elections, the party produced six legislators.
The judiciary is the third arm of the government. It is mainly guided by the English common law. Judges who are appointed by the president preside over trials and/or deliver rulings as per the constitution. According to Peidong (2014), judicial penalties in Singapore include corporal caning in cases of rape, immigration offence, vandalizing property, or rioting. Other penalties include death sentence, especially in case of murder and drug trafficking.
These penalties continue to raise differences with pro-life institutions such as the Amnesty International, although the government of Singapore has successfully defended them. For example, the reason why Singapore has one of the least drug abuse rates in the world is due to harsh penalties on drug trafficking. The legal system has also been able to control corruption. The move has made the country have one of the least corruption rates in the world. In addition, Duiker and Spielvogel (2014) assert that Singapore ranks among the top countries in the world in terms of order and security.
Culture and Holidays/Celebrations
Singapore has one of the richest cultures in Asia. The 5.4 million people who live in Singapore comprise about 2 million immigrants. The country has a diverse ethnic composition. For instance, the Chinese make up 75%. Other communities include the Indians, the Eurasians, and Malays. This diversity leads to the four official languages, namely Malay, Mandarin, Tamil, and English. Since independence, the country has promoted a culture of multiculturalism, which is enacted in law. According to Chong 2005), the ruling governments have emphasized multiculturalism since independence.
The population of Singapore comprises both indigenous people and immigrants. The major communities include the Chinese, Malays, Indians, and Eurasians. Chong (2005) further observes that the government of Singapore has continually advocated immigrants to come in for settlement in a bid to augment its below-population-sustainable-birth-rate of 0.8. Therefore, the government emphasizes the rights of immigrants. Diversity in religion, culture, and languages has also attracted global attention. Singapore also experiences non-nation-like characteristics due to the composition of its population (Peidong, 2014; Han-Yin, 2003). For example, people are of different origins, speak different language, and are of different skin color.
Out of the 5, 469,700 people who constitute the population of Singapore, only 61.12% of them are citizens while the lesser segment of 38.8% of the population comprises foreigners who live as students, residents, or workers. In fact, 23% of the residents of Singapore were born in foreign countries. Chong (2005) further reveals that investors from other nations have moved in the country to acquire full citizenship and residence.
According to Tan (2014), diversity in official languages is also a distinctive characteristic. For example, as aforementioned, the government promotes four national languages such as English, Mandarin, Tamil, and Malay. Although all these languages are acceptable, the government preferred language of communication and business is English. People from all public places are expected to use it as written in the constitution. The most spoken native language is Mandarin. Other native dialects include Hokkien and Cantonese, both of which are spoken by citizens of the Chinese origin. Malay language is engraved in the national anthem based on its symbolic inclination. In addition, Tamil has a national status that is also promoted by the government. This observation indicates how the government shows value to all four official languages as a way of supporting diversity.
The beliefs of Singaporeans are conservative. The government emphasizes meritocracy, multiracial, and multi-religious harmony. Chong (2005) observes that the coats of arm have a lion from where the country derives the name lion city. The Vanda Miss Joaquim flower is a national symbol.
Public holidays are also celebrated in Singapore in honor of diverse festivals, for instance, festivals of the Chinese, Malay, Westerners, and Indians. Singapore also celebrates annual Singapore arts festivals where various works of arts are exhibited. During these festivals, different foods from different cultures are displayed. The people of Singapore enjoy their leisure while eating or shopping. Therefore, it is important to appreciate the eating culture of the Singaporeans. Peidong (2014) asserts that diversity of communities’ results in diverse food that attracts tourists. It acts as a symbol of multiculturalism. Inclusion of food and preparation methods from other parts of the world has also diversified food in Singapore.
Education and Employment
The government of Singapore has made it compulsory for all children to acquire free primary education. The government funds and facilitates primary, secondary, and tertiary education. Since English is the first language in Singapore, it is used as the language of instruction and examination in schools.
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Education system comprises six years at primary school after which learners sit for a primary school leaving examination before joining secondary schools and later pre-university, before enrolling for at the university. Education curriculum in Singapore is focused on mathematics, science, and English. This plan has been attributed to technological developments in the country’s industries. Singaporean students have been rated among the top five best mathematicians in the world.
Singapore has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world at below 2%. Most of the citizens who lie within the working age are employed and/or working for 45 hours a week. Peidong (2014) affirms that Singapore is also rated one of the countries that have the highest number of millionaires in the world. The country’s taxation rates are low. This situation attracts many foreign investors. The government has one of the best environments for business, especially for lowly taxed foreigners. Based on the no-minimum-wage plan in Singapore, the disparity between the underprivileged and the well off people is high. However, the population does not experience acute poverty. Kong (2012) asserts that the government fosters the culture of saving in Singapore by emphasizing that every generation must save enough to sustain itself.
There is diversity of religion in Singapore (Chong, 2005). Major religions include Buddhism, Christian, Muslims, and Hindu. However, Kong (2012) observes that the most practiced religion is Buddhism at 34%, followed by Christianity at 18%, Islam at 14%, Hindu at 5%, and Folk at 3%. A significant 16% of Singaporean population is made up of atheists who do not uphold any religion.
Tan (2014) asserts that Singapore is rated the country with the highest religious diversity in the world. In fact, the remaining 10% of the population practices other unfamiliar religions. Singapore’s tolerance to freedom of worship is also critical to its economic development and international relations. Religion is responsible for the changing face of architectural designs in the construction of churches, mosques, and temples. Some religious structures that were constructed in the pre-independence period are also cultural sites in the country.
Art and Architecture
Emphasis on arts has also taken roots in Singapore. The government has built and opened a performing arts theater, namely Esplanade, to promote this course. Sporting activities such as football, swimming, basketball, table tennis, scuba diving, and cricket are also common in Singapore. Tan (2014) further observes that since most of the population resides in suburban areas, the government provides recreational facilities such as public swimming pools and sports complexes.
According to Ang and Ofori (2001), architecture in Singapore has increased the influence of religion. Based on the evident faith diversity, architectural designs also vary. For example, Ang and Ofori (2001) assert that the designs of construction of churches such as the Armenian Church of Saint Gregory, Temples by the Hindus, and Mosques by Muslims amplify the architectural levels of the country.
The High-Rise Housing and Development Board flats are a common design in Singapore since most of the population is housed under this government program. Modern architectural designs are also coming up in the city as evidenced in the current Singaporean national stadium. Some designs such as the Singaporean condominiums and flats have spread across the world to Britain, America, Africa, and most parts of Asia. Housing programs in Singapore have also inspired many governments of the world that are struggling with urbanization and slum eradication.
Singapore has a multicultural, multiracial, and multi-religious population. As revealed in the paper, achievements such as the peaceful coexistence between Singaporeans and the country’s emphasis on tolerance by the government have attracted investors. Singapore is a self-governing state that is headed by a president. The paper has confirmed how the three arms of the government work coherently in administering the country. Diversity in language, race, architecture, arts, culture, and religion symbolize unity in diversity. Therefore, this paper concludes that Singapore is one of the best places for business and investments in the world.
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